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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Can Shareholders Sue CEOs For Corporate Social Activism?

In an August 17, 2017 opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal, Jon L. Pritchett and Ed Tiryakian had the following message for shareholders: Our message to small shareholders of companies like Starbucks, Merck and Target: You can sue when a CEO decides to institute a corporate social-responsibility program that has no benefit to the business.…

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A Subsidiary Post

Not too long ago, I wrote about the Securities and Exchange Commission’s confusing classification of subsidiaries.  See The Case Of The Wholly Owned, But Not Totally Held, Subsidiary That May Or May Not Be 100% Owned.  Since this blog is concerned primarily with California corporate and securities laws, I would be remiss in not adding a…

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Another “Best Practices” May Not Be Best After All

For years, I’ve been critical of governance experts who promote “best practices” without any basis that these practices are actually effective, much less the best.  For example, the Harvard Law School’s Shareholder Rights Project undertook to push numerous companies to eliminate their staggered boards.  Two former SEC Commissioners took the Harvard SRP to task for advancing shareholder…

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A Field Guide To Distinguishing Directors From Officers

A colleague who is not a corporate lawyer recently noted that in common parlance directors and officers are often simply lumped together as the “same thing”.   He suggested that I devote a post to a primer on the differences between directors and officers.  As requested, here is my take on the subject: Directors can not act alone…

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Even If Enacted, The CHOICE Act May Not Repeal The SEC’s Pay Ratio Rule

While prognosticators continue to place odds on whether the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, H.R. 10, will be enacted, many commentators are claiming that it will “repeal” the Securities and Exchange Commission’s pay ratio rule.  Even if H.R. 10 is enacted, I’m not so sure that it would “repeal” the pay ratio rule. It is certainly true…

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Fictitious Name Use Fails To Engender Standing Or Jurisdictional Issue

California Code of Civil Procedure Section 367 requires that every action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party of interest.  What happens when a plaintiff sues under a fictitious business name of a dissolved foreign limited liability company?  Yesterday, the Court of Appeal answered that question in The Rossdale Group, LLC v.…

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State Controller Defeats Judgment Creditor’s Claim To Escheated Funds

Here is the question: Can a judgment creditor can enforce an assignment issued pursuant to the Enforcement of Judgments Law (CCP § 680.10 et seq.) for escheated property pursuant to the Unclaimed Property Law (CCP § 1500 et seq.) when the judgment debtor is a suspended corporation pursuant to the Revenue & Taxation Code §…

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A Shareholder Consent In Its Dotage May Or May Not Be Valid

California Corporations Code Section 603(a) broadly authorizes shareholder action by written consent: Unless otherwise provided in the articles, any action that may be taken at any annual or special meeting of shareholders may be taken without a meeting and without prior notice, if a consent in writing, as specified in [Corporations Code] Section 195, setting…

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Is There A “Revlon Duty” In California?

There are certain seminal Delaware corporate law cases that are so well known that corporate lawyers are wont to assume that they have been adopted and followed everywhere.  One such case is Revlon, Inc. v. MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc., 506 A.2d 173 (1986).  In that case, the Delaware Supreme Court famously proclaimed that once…

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Did The Harvard Shareholder Rights Project Prove Itself Wrong?

In December 2014, Stanford Law School Professor Joseph A. Grundfest and Daniel M. Gallagher incited an academic titanomachy when they released a draft of an academic paper provocatively entitled “Did Harvard Violate Federal Securities Law?  The Campaign Against Classified Boards of Directors“.  In this case, “Harvard” was the Harvard Shareholder Rights Project which described itself as “a clinical program operating at…

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